In response to the demand of fast food workers for $15 minimum wage per hour, Wendy’s begun installing self-ordering kiosks in 1,000 of its stores – 16% of its locations nationwide that struck their employees.
According to Fusion, Wendy’s accounted plans in 2016 to begin installing self-service kiosks in their restaurants “because of growing labor costs associated [with] rising minimum wages. California and New York are both raising minimum wages to $15 per hour over the next several years.”
Now, as the Columbus Dispatch reports, the fast-food chain has begun installing kiosks in a handful of restaurants in central Ohio. The company reportedly plans to install the machines in 1,000 of its stores by the end of 2017.
“There is a huge amount of pull from (franchises) in order to get them,” Wendy’s chief information officer, David Trimm, said during the company’s investors’ day. “With the demand we are seeing… we can absolutely see our way to having 1,000 or more restaraunts live with kiosks by the end of the year.”
According to the Columbus Dispatch, each store will typically receive three kiosks for roughly $15,000. Trimm says that the kiosks will pay for themselves in less than two years, due to savings on labor and increased sales.
“They are looking to improve their automation and their labor costs, and this is a good way to do it,” said Darren Tristano, Vice President of food-service research and consulting firm, Technomic. “They are also trying to enhance the customer experience. Younger customers prefer to use a kiosk.”
Franchises will not be required to install kiosks in their store, but the option will soon be available for them.
The kiosks are not expected to replace labor entirely, but will rather shift labor into other areas. The company hopes that the kiosks will help balance rising wages as workers continue the Fight For $15.
“Last year was tough – 5 percent wage inflation,” said Bob Wright, Wendy’s chief operating officer, in a presentation for investors. “But the real question is what are we doing about it?” Wright added that the company expects wages to rise another 4 percent in 2017.
Wendy’s hopes that the addition of the kiosks will put the company ahead of the curve for the implementation of technology in food service.
The company also says that an added benefit of the kiosks is higher order accuracy, as well as the ability to collect data.
“They are always courteous,” Bob WElcher, president of Restuarant Consultants Inc., said of kiosks. “They always show up for work on time.”